Is two weeks or more in Kruger too much?

Feb 3rd, 2007, 07:55 PM
  #1  
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Is two weeks or more in Kruger too much?

Trying to conserve some money and still get to Africa. From some of the reports lately, those who have been have loved Kruger. Is 2 weeks too much? Same stuff or worth doing for that long? Mercedes=$700 a week, camps= approx. $64.00 pn, about 4 times less than I usually pay. (plus fees, gas and food of course, still cheaper than a lodge in Zim/Zam...but just as good???? (or worth it to do a week in Kruger then off to Zim/Zam for the second week?)
Thanks, Dennis
matnikstym is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2007, 08:07 PM
  #2  
santharamhari
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Hi Dennis,

If i were you...i would do a combination of Kruger and something in either Zim or Zambia.

In kruger, you can do the self drive along with organized walks etc etc., and then head off to say one of your fav destinations....differnt experiences both.

Hari
 
Feb 4th, 2007, 03:55 AM
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Dennis,
I feel that for the average it might be a little long, however in your case (judging from your reports) you have an above average interest in Africa and its wildlife. I would say that a two week trip for you would be marvellous.

What I would od is kick the trip off in the northern sector of the park at Pafuri and then slowly work south spending two nights at each rest camp, perhaps three. Naturally I would not suggest staying at every camp, you can elect your preferred and based on how long a drive between each you'd enjoy.

The last element that I would change is the vehicle. Don't use a low profile merc rather go for the more spacious mini-van, as it will give you greater elevation with further depth of view into the wilderness. Being in the kruger would imply that you would not necessarily be guided relying on your own skill and observation to find game, so you should go with the best advantages you can.

Hope that helps?
mkhonzo is offline  
Feb 4th, 2007, 06:11 PM
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thanks hari and mkhonzo. still deciding what to do, thanks for the tip on the higher vehicle. hoping for gabon in 2008 so need to plan for that.
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Feb 4th, 2007, 07:02 PM
  #5  
santharamhari
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Gabon, Cool......
 
Feb 5th, 2007, 03:22 AM
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maybe the infra structure will have improved by then...

Have heard some decent stories, but sightings of lowland gorillas, still iffy. Getting between parks continues to be a challenge at best.
mkhonzo is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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Dennis, Kruger is a spectacular park, but much different than the quieter parks you visited in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The central, game rich area, around Skukuza and Satara, is popular, and you will see other vehicles, but I easiliy found the Big Five, and lots of other animals, on my first day in this area. I could easily spend a week in Kruger, and if you travel the length of the park, I'm sure two weeks would be fun. I traveled in a 2WD and a higher vehicle would have been preferable -- the price of an SUV would be competitive, I should think, with the Mercedes (they rent C180, which I what I drove last year in Hluhluwe). With two weeks, you may not feel as rushed and compelled to waken everyday at 5:30. Its also very nice to end the day barbequing, and you should be able to stock provisions in Kruger, although it may be helpful, if you pick your vehicle at JNB, to stop at a well-provisioned shop in Johannesburg or on the way, and supplement with meat, fruit and vegetables in the park. You can probably get much better wine in Johannesburg, but wine and beer are available in the park. While I'd likely rely on the camps for breakfast and lunch, nothing is better than a bottle of wine and a barbeque each night. Its a great idea and will cost relatively little, compared to the Sabi Sands, and in my opinion, its a lot more fun. Check out www.sanparks.org -- I booked my trip to Kgalagadi with them last year, and they were very helpful (it takes a couple of days to get an email response).
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Feb 8th, 2007, 02:59 AM
  #8  
 
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Dear Dennis,
Can I carry your suitcases in and out of your vehicle, and cook for you? I wish more people would go to Kruger for 2 weeks. You will not be dissapointed. Everyone's advise has been spot on and what I would like to do is mention all the add ons and activities possible once you are there.
I would start off in the South by booking into Croc. Bridge for 2 nights. Gives you access to the open plains and Lebombo mountain range in the South East of the Park. Directions from JHB are very easy going East on the N4 highway. Malelane has a brilliant Spar Shopping centre with good, fresh veggies, fruits and beautiful meats ( oops, hope you are not vegetarian and I have offended you, if I have I apologize, we LOVE meat in SA ).

Entering in the South will also afford you the opportunity of settling into the safari scene before you head off North to the more remote areas of the park, and that is allready one of the fun differences in Kruger. If you look at your map you will notice that the Southern road networks are much more extensive than the North. In the South then one can expect a lot more vehicle activity and "more" animal activity. The North has a certain magic in that you can even in the busy season, not see another vehicle for an entire morning drive.

I would then reccommend Lower Sabie for 2 nights. Both camps afford you the opportunity of concentrating your efforts on this section of the park. Highlights include, the highest Lion concentration between L.S and C.B., the biggest Tusker called Duke in the same area as above, stacks of White Rhino, a pack of 13 Wild dogs and possible cheetah on the plains. It also includes the highest Leopard density in Africa between the Sabie and Sand rivers in the Skukuza Region, huge herds of Buffalo and Elephant also hug both rivers, especially in the warmer part of the day. Picnic spots include Afsaal, Mkuhlu, and my personal favourite Mlondozi. If you'd please, go and see why. Mkuhlu and Afsaal have shops, but at Mlondozi I would suggest packing a picnic basket and doing breakfast there. You can hire a gas bottle and big pan for R 10.00, perfect for eggs and bacon in the bush. View points where you may alight from your vehicle includes Stevenson Hamilton, Matekenyane, Nkumbe and Ntandanyathi hide.

I would then try for 2 nights at Satarain Central Kruger and combine that with 2 nights at either Olifants or Letaba. En route from the South you have the option of Tshokwane ( shop ), Nlangulen and Muzandzeni as picnic spots ( gas barbeque ) Each of the gas barbeque areas have limited cool drinks for sale. Satara is set in the game rich, Basalt and Ecca shales plains with big herds of Burchell's Zebra, Blue Wildebeest and even Ostrich at the order of the day. A must is the S 100 dirt road from Satara to Nwanetsi for a gas based picnic spot for a comfortable morning drive. Equally impressive the Sweni dirt road south of the Camp, that will put you close to Mzandzeni for brekkie. A day drive to and around the Timbavati picnic spot might yield good sightings as most of our guides have spotted lions on either buffalo or giraffe kills. As this is the same pride and it's size dictates what will be a big enough meal, it indicates that this is a specialization of this particular pride and not just a once off. Olifants has this magnificent view over the river and is the transitional zone where the ever present Mopanie tree starts it's domination of the eco system northwards.I would request accommodation on the perimetre overlooking the river. Imagine having your barbeque, like one post mentioned quite rightly, with your wine as the sun sets behind you with the golden glow over the river and valley in front of you. Olifants for this reason is quite popular and if fully booked, I would recommend perimetre accommodation on the Letaba river at Letaba.

Northwards is where the adventure starts. Break through the endless Mopanie and it is as if you have reached paradise at Shingwedzi. This dry riverbed has fountains of water dug up by Elephants, and this is also where the big herds hang around. It has the 2nd highest density of leopard, and I can remember, a family holiday, where we spotted this female leopard quite calmly walking in the river bed below us, as we were enjoying sundowners on the bridge! The Redrocks loop to Bateleur private camp is highly recommended as well as the mphongololo loop towards Sirheni. The only closeby picnic spot being the gas based Babalala. A leisurely afternoon drive along the lower reaches of the Shingwedzi to Kanniedood dam will amaze with the life the river sustains in this drier region of the park. I would spend 2 nights here before treating yourself to the exclusivity of Sirheni Bushcamp. It might be a bit more expensive than the restcamps, but it sleeps 4 or 6 people per family chalet, with a living room and kitchen/dining area. The main attraction is that it will only have 8 of these chalets and private entrance roads and game viewing roads only for Sirheni,s guests. You will have to make sure though that you stock up with food, drinks and fuel, as these camps work on the premises of self catered privacy. It is also a National Parks product, and can thus be booked with your other accommodation through National parks at the website other posts have mentioned. You will see on your map that there are actually quite a few of these bushcamps in the regions of the Park. Here I would linger for 3 nights, and i would recommend taking a full day to Pafuri picnic spot with it,s fever tree forests, ancient Baobab trees and riparine vegetation on the Levhuvhu river. Expect to be blown away by the area's beauty and wildlife, as nyala antelope are like impala in this area. That should cover your 2 weeks quite sufficiently, leaving you with the opportunity for more, as this will scratch the surface of the park. Hope this helps, please shout if you have any questions or comments. Sorry for the long post, but I just love the Park and I am enthusiastic about your planning and a little jealous. ENJOY!

Jaco
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Feb 8th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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Yes, yes, yes!!

Thanks, Jaco & Thit Cho, for bringing back such wonderful memories! Every trip to Kruger is good, but the year that we drove from the north end of Kruger to the south end was magical. We took only about 10 days to do it, but I don't think two weeks would be too long.
Celia is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 08:01 AM
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Well, Nico & Yvonne went for 6 weeks and I think they could have stayed longer. You can read their report & see their pics here:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewt...=asc&start=225

We only had 8 days this time, two weeks would have been better.

Personally I would skip the Mercedes and get a Nissan X-Trail or something similar instead so you can sit up nice and high, better for spotting.

Haven't been to Zim or Zam so can't compare. Kruger is a totally different experience than private camps in SA, Bots, and Tanzania though. There are pluses and minuses. There is something thrilling about setting your own schedule, looking at the maps and sightings boards to pick your own route for each game drive, and stumbling across great sightings on your own with no one else around, no one else in your vehicle and you can stay as at each sighting as long or as short a time as you like. And it's great value for money. Obviously the accommodations and food in Kruger are not as luxe though, and there were some days especially in the north of the park where we did not see much game (although we did like the camps in the north better, generally, especially Mopani and Punda Maria).

The park is huge and I would not attempt to drive the whole thing from south to north unless you have at least a week, preferably more.
lisa is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 02:02 PM
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Thank you Jaco and Lisa for replying. We will be in Kruger this Sep but for only a few days, camp Letaba. So anything that comes to mind about that area, please post. We were at Kruger in Sep 2006 and am very much looking forward to returning. (Even though our trip continues, like last time, with private reserves after Kruger).
regards - tom
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Feb 9th, 2007, 09:10 AM
  #12  
 
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Hi Dennis
I love this thread for the simple reason that it is about my favourite place in the world, in fact a place that shaped my destiny and my current occupation. The Kruger National Park. To me there is no place on earth that is better than Kruger for one to go and really be on their own and find their spirtuality. My first visit to Kruger was in 1965 and I have nevr stopped going there. In fact as a safari operator as you know right now my first choice if given it would be Kruger. Thit-Cho knows what I am about to say. If you really want to experience Africa as it once was then Kruger will give it to you but it does have its limitations as far as going out alone at night to see what is happening. I have been fortunate enough to have been given permits to do it but Kruger is a special place. My favourite camp is Tamboti where Celeste and I go when we want to get away from it all and we literaly go for 5 or 6 nights and park off in the tent with our supplies and don't budge. To me this is something that not many folks get to experience. I am spoiled in many ways as I have had the fantastic privaledge to do my own things with Jaco, who has posted, just to name a few, but as Jaco says and I agree, Kruger is the best if you really want to find yourself and experience a slight living in Africa.
In Kruger you are on your own, time is your time, you make your food when you want, you get up in the AM when you want. Kruger will give you your Africa the way you want it.
GO FOR IT.
Mark
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Feb 9th, 2007, 06:45 PM
  #13  
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Thanks Jaco, Mark and others, I'm going to print this out for reference. Sounds like it would be an amazing experience.
Thanks again!
matnikstym is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 12:03 AM
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Hallo Tom,
This is what I would recommend in Letaba. If you can, perimeter bungalows on the Letaba river, you will have amazing sightings and sounds at night, as there will be pools in the river at the end of the dry season. We heard lions killing a buffalo at night, and even though we could not see anything, you can imagine a good old SA "braai", a Windhoek Lager, your family, african night skies and sounds, need we say more?

There is quite a nice comfortable walk along the river inside the camp, that will lead you to the private guest cottage in the southern corner. Only if there are no guests in the cottage, proceed to the hide and enjoy. I have bought ice creams for all our guests in the past, and we sat quietly in the hide watching a herd of approx. 50 ellies bathe. Amazing bird sightings as well.

There are insect eating bat houses with very informative signposts to entertain young and old. You will also hear and see Wahlberg's eppauletted fruit bats at night in the various wild fruit trees at your accommodation.

There are lots of Bushbuck that allow you relatively close, in the camp surrounds. You will see people feeding them, but that is something I would not recommend.

The Elephant museum is a must and I will leave it at that.

The park guides are of a good quality in Letaba and if he is there and if you would like to do a walk with a brilliant park ranger, ask for Nicol Coetsee.

Ask the park rangers if they have seen the resident Pel's fishing Owl pair on the main road north to Mopani. They are ussualy in the Jackalberry trees along the river not far from camp, and is a definite highlight, whether you are a birder or not.

And we have not even started with game viewing roads! As I mentioned before, I will let you know closer to your departure as to what our guides have seen in the area, it will give us an idea of where game concentrations are. This is also something we would like to offer to all fodorites intending to visit Kruger.

Hope this helps Tom, and we are looking forward to updating you on game sightings shortly. Thank you for everyone's enthusiasm for THE PARK.

Cheers
Jaco
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